• Dan

#BookReview Time


Peekaboo by Dan 2021
Peekaboo by Dan 2021



Here are some recent highlights in my #scifi and #yafantasy reading.


Persephone Station by Stina Leicht

Synopsis

In this slow-burn sci-fi, a ragtag group of mercenaries defends pacifistic aliens from a greedy corporation.

My Thoughts

Overall, this is an enjoyable yarn that picks up steam as it goes. It's definitely a slow-burn tale with the motivations and gambits of many of the characters never fully revealed until late in the story. This kept my curiosity aroused but also led to some frustration. I personally find it annoying when a perfectly rational narrative voice character withholds information from the reader.

Having said that, the story is fun, at times evoking Star Wars, The Seven Samurai, and other fables of the underdogs taking on the establishment.

What can the aspiring author learn?

One thing Leicht does exceptionally well is writing characters that are LGBTQ+. She does this in such a way that the characters aren't stereotypical. Authors interested in writing such characters will serve themselves well by studying this novel.

On her website, Leicht apologizes for not putting more thought into how she presented some characters' preferred pronouns while telling the story from the perspective of characters who could not have known a particular character's preferred pronoun at the time. Anyhow, I think the post illustrates that Leicht is thoughtful about representation in her writing.

Tess on the Road by Rachel Hartman


Synopsis

After a youthful indiscretion, Tess embarks on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

My thoughts

Hartman is one of my favorite authors. I absolutely adore her books featuring Seraphina as the protagonist.

Tess doesn't make for as an easily likable protagonist as Seraphina, but as her backstory is revealed and she matures on her adventures, she becomes progressively more likable and sympathetic. By the end, I was 100% rooting for Tess and anxious to go on more adventures with her.

What can the aspiring author learn?

First off, I think it's worth studying how Hartman takes Tess from a relatively immature and somewhat unlikeable character to a mature and delightful character––the progression is incremental and believable.

What Hartman does masterfully is writing back story, often through flashbacks. The flashbacks are immediate and compelling, driving the story forward more than even Tess's real-time adventures while traveling the road. I've read many warnings about avoiding too much backstory. In Tess on the Road Hartman shows that backstory can be the most compelling part of the tale.

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